Once a month I get together with a few other folks for a shared lunch. It used to be pot luck, but we have got into the habit of bringing specific things and I generally supply something sweet – usually some form of cake. To begin with it was easy and I just made whatever cake took my fancy, but then we were joined by someone who was wheat intolerant and I had to change my thinking. All went well initially – I made various cakes using gluten-free flour; things like brownies and gingerbread don’t seem to suffer much with the lack of wheat. But then, she developed an intolerance to barley and the commercial gluten-free flour route was closed down.
So, I’ve experimented with a variety of flours – chestnut, rice, sorghum, millet and using guar gum to help with the texture, but although our gluten-intolerant friend says they are good, I am very dissatisfied with the results: either like a brick or stodgy, and the flour always seems to be slightly gritty. Part of my problem is planning ahead -I generally bake on a whim because I have all the necessary (wheat-laden) ingredients in my store cupboard, but personally I don’t like wheat-free flours, so I have to buy them specially for this once-a-month bake. Sadly things like chestnut flour don’t keep well and it’s too expensive to allow to go off.
Anyway, this month I have had a brainwave – old-fashioned coconut macaroons. I haven’t made these since I was a child and I had to go back to a cookery book from the 1970s to find a recipe. In fact it was an easy recipe – beat two egg whites until they are foamy, but not stiff, fold in 4 oz caster sugar and 2 level tsp cornflour, then fold in 5 oz desiccated coconut. Place little heaps of the mixture on a greased baking sheet, flatten them slightly and bake at 180C for about 20 minutes, until they are golden. They were so simple to make, they are dairy, wheat and barley-free. Fortuitously, I had two spare egg whites having made mayonnaise earlier on in the week, so the recipe was ideal. And, though I do say so myself, they do look (and taste) rather good:
Now I really should spend some time getting to grips with some of Kate Chiconi’s gluten free recipes, which always look amazing.